Ars Technica: Followup: The FEC, FUD, and the blogpocalypse, Round II. Meant to post this yesterday as a followup to my earlier comments on the FEC’s commissioner. This is the other shoe, how it looks from the perspective of a Democrat, Ellen Weintraub, on the commission:
Reports of a Federal Election Commission plot to “crack down” on blogging and e-mail are wildly exaggerated. First of all, we’re not the speech police. We don’t tell private citizens what they can or cannot say, on the Internet or anywhere else. The FEC regulates campaign finance. There’s got to be some money involved, or it’s out of our jurisdiction.
Second, let’s get the facts straight. Congress, in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, limited how one can pay for communications that are coordinated with political campaigns, including any form of “general public political advertising.” The commission issued a regulation defining those communications to exempt anything transmitted over the Internet. A judge struck down that regulation as inconsistent with the law. So now we’re under a judicial mandate to consider whether anything short of a blanket exemption that will do. For example, can paid advertisements on the Web, when coordinated with a particular campaign, be considered an in-kind contribution to that campaign? Context is important, and the context here has everything to do with paid advertising, and nothing to do with individuals blogging and sending e-mails.
Third, anyone who says they know what this proposed regulation will address must be clairvoyant, because the commissioners have yet to consider even a draft of the document that will set out the scope of any such rule…
So that’s interesting. Going after bloggers isn’t an option, but going after paid advertising is. What about going after paid bloggers?